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Blockhouse deluxe - Fishermen’s huts

No hotel, no tent, but wet and cold ... well, maybe only bitterly cold. What now?
How about one of the uncountable fishermen’s huts which can be found along the shore of the Baikal lake. Sure, you won’t find them in the relatively densely populated region along the old Transsib-railway. But in regions with no villages and therefore no accommodations you should look out for them. Usually, the fisher huts are built directly at the beach or sheltered and slightly hidden behind the first tree line. And one hut always indicates that there are more.

Don’t expect any comfort. And in this case no comfort does not mean only neither tap water nor electricity but absolutely no comfort. So you should not be oversensitively. The huts are very basic – even for Russian conditions.
Most of them are better booths/shacks with flapping plastic canopies, big branches and cracks, filled with moss, as wind shelter. Tiny, often only 2x3 meter and just so high that you can fairly sit in. One or two plank beds (you’d better not glimpse under them) and a plain table. But, and that is often the most important thing, a small easy to handle oven.

It is always a matter of alternatives. In summer and in good or at least changeable weather the tent or the beach are always the better choice. But in winter or on the third rainy-cold day in a row, a hut full of trash and smoke (and not seldom smelling of the activities of its owner) can become a comfortable – because warm – shelter. And more room than in a tent you will have anyway.

But you should never forget that you are only a guest. And just because we would throw away all the wire and string tangle or the old ragged blanket which lies on the plank bed does not necessarily mean that the fisherman would do, too. Considering the fact that several fishermen spend all summer in a hut like that seams to say a lot about their living standards and possessions.

If the owner shows up, offer to move out of the hut. But if you stay polite and keep a friendly face, chances are high to profit from the proverbial Russian hospitality and curiosity. And chances are even higher, when the fisherman gets the impression that his hut has been treated with respect.


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16 Feb 2006

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